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White Beans with Shrimp

This is Cajun comfort food at it's best! Creamy, mellow flavored White Beans simmered in a rich stock with Cajun/Creole seasonings and succulent, tasty Gulf Shrimp. Serve over cooked rice with some crispy french bread and a green salad and you have a seriously comforting treat from the Bayou.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: white beans and shrimp
Servings: 12 Servings
Calories: 306kcal
Author: Sweet Daddy D

Here's What You Need

  • 1-2 pounds shrimp
  • 4 slices smoked bacon
  • 1 pound dry great northern beans see Notes
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • ½ medium green pepper chopped
  • 2 stalks Celery chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 6 cups Shrimp Stock See Notes
  • ½ teaspoon liquid crab boil See Notes
  • to taste kosher salt at end-See Notes

Herb and Spice Blend

  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning plus some for the shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves

Here's What You Do

  • Soak the beans. See Notes
  • Peel, clean and rinse shrimp. Pat dry with a paper towel and combine with some creole seasoning and set aside. Chop and measure all other ingredients and set aside until needed.
  • Starting in a cold dutch oven, saute the bacon until most of the fat is rendered.
  • Leaving bacon in the dutch oven, turn down the heat and add the onions, bell peppers and celery. Saute slowly until starting to brown and caramelize, about 6 minutes.
  • Turn up the heat and add the garlic and about ⅔ of the Herb and Seasoning Blend. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes until aromatic.
  • Add the beans (after draining) and stir well to coat all the beans with the bacon grease, trinity and spices. Saute about 4 or 5 minutes.
  • Add a little stock to deglaze the dutch oven (if needed), scraping up all the browned goodness on the bottom.
  • Add the remaining stock and the liquid crab boil (see Notes); bring to a full boil, reduce heat to a heavy simmer and continue uncovered for about 5 minutes while all the flavors begin to come together.
  • Lower heat to a simmer, cover pot and cook for about 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally so it does not stick.
  • At about the 2-hour mark, start testing the beans to see if they are getting tender. Remove the cover intermittently if the beans need to thicken once they are soft.
  • Once the beans are soft, taste for seasoning. Add the remaining Herb and Spice Blend and about 2 teaspoons of salt. The shrimp will absorb some salt so it's OK to be a little salty at this point.
  • Add the shrimp by hand, a few at a time, and mix in thoroughly.
  • Keeping the beans on a slow simmer, cover the pot and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let sit covered for about 5 minutes. Taste again for salt and add more if desired.
  • Remove the bay leaves and serve over long grain rice.


The beans will soften quicker if they are soaked prior to cooking.  According to Camellia Beans, there are three easy ways to do this. I usually use the one-hour quick method. Read about them here.
Liquid Crab Boil is a liquid seasoning Zatarain's and used in boiling seafood in Louisiana. It is concentrated and very potent, so resist the urge to use more than called for until you taste the beans. I have ruined dished before by using a little too much Liquid Crab Boil. It's a unique flavor and cannot be easily duplicated. You can buy some here. Substitute some cayenne pepper to taste if you can't get the Crab Boil, you'll miss the distinct flavor but you'll get the heat.
This recipe was developed using Great Northern Beans, but it can be made with Navy Beans with no change in flavor or even Red Kidney Beans with a very slight change in texture and flavor.
This recipe is best if you can use some homemade shrimp stock. I realize not everyone has some in the freezer, so if you want to make some from the shrimp heads and shells, read this. If not, this recipe is still very good with some commercial chicken stock or seafood stock.  Just click those links and buy some.
I recommend not salting your beans until the end. There are a couple of reasons for this and you should check out my article on beans so that you can learn more about it.


Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 834mg | Potassium: 643mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g

This recipe came from First...You Have a Beer (www.firstyouhaveabeer.com). If you like it, please leave a 5 star rating and a comment on the site and, most importantly, SHARE it with your friends.